Strike action at Banbridge office is imminent says NIPSA

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Staff at Banbridge electoral office are to support industrial action over plans to close all six regional centres throughout Northern Ireland.

NIPSA members voted in a recent ballot to take industrial action including ‘strike action and action short of strike action.’

The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland proposed to close offices in Ballymena, Banbridge, Derry/Londonderry, Newtownabbey, Newtownards and Omagh and centralise services to Belfast.

Speaking on the result of the ballot, Dooley Harte, NIPSA HQ Official stated: “Members in regional electoral offices have given resounding support for industrial action including strike action through our recent ballot.

“Almost 92% of those balloted supported strike action with 100% supporting action short of strike action.”

Mr Harte said NIPSA representatives met last week with representatives of the Electoral Office and Northern Ireland Office to try and resolve the current difficulties but that meeting ended without a resolution.

Mr Harte said: “While the meeting convened by Labour Relations Agency had made some progress, there was still a gulf between us on our demands”.

NIPSA asked that additional funding is provided and building leases are extended to September 30, 2017 to allow for a joint working group to introduce and assess the impact of new admin systems and online registration technology as well as carry out a full review of regional services looking at accommodation, structures and roles and responsibilities.

Mr Harte stated that these proposals were not accepted by Management.

“Members have given a clear and unambiguous statement to Management that they are prepared to take strike action to protect jobs and services in rural areas,” he said. “NIPSA will now be engaging members in the range of options available to them, up to and including strike action.”